The pure water from the mountain, fertile land with luxuriant foliage, and clear air breezing through them… Various fauna and flora benefit from this natural environment of Hinai, Odate in the northern part of Akita and Hinai-Jidori is one of their representatives who enjoys Hinai nature to the full.
Enjoy the prime Hinai-Jidori
This locally raised chicken is famous for its chewy texture, strong taste of meat, and moderately plump fat and it is known that its meat and soup is best suited to Kiritanpo-Nabe (the rice stick hotpot). Even after being roasted, the softness of meat cannot be ruined and the more we chew it, the more we can enjoy rich taste of meat.
The history of Hinai-Jidori
Today, the decent taste of Hinai-Jidori is nationally recognized and it is counted as one of the top chicken in Japan along with Nagoya Chochin chicken and Satsuma Jidori chicken. However, there were and are lots of challenges and inventions behind the breed improvement of Hinai-Jidori brand.
Hinai-Jidori (比内地鶏) has its roots in Hinai chicken (比内鶏) which used to be offered to the lord as a land tax between 17th and 19th century because of its unrivaled savory.
In 1942, the government recognized the academic value of Hinai chicken (such as its purity as Japanese local breed and genuine quality as not being hybridized with other breeds) and officially designated as a national treasure. However, in contrast to its high-quality taste, Hinai chicken are not suited to be produced as food on grounds of slow growth, sensitiveness to the change of growing environment, and poor reproductivity and tolerance for diseases.
Therefore, from 1973, the local organization for preserving Hinai chicken in Hinai started to hybridize Hinai chicken with other breeds so that it can retain its quality while diminishing its disadvantages as a chicken for food. After numerous trials, they finally found out the best hens to crossbreed with Hinai cock, the Rhode Island Red. (The American fowl) Then, finally the Hinai-Jidori was born.
Growing up Hinai-JIdori
When rearing Hinai-Jidori, breeders need to care about the management of growing environment and the feed. It is said that Hinai-Jidori needs 3 times more feed and term (around 170 days) than ordinary broilers and it is traded 5 times more expensive than the ordinary one. One of the characteristic ways of growing Hinai-Jidori is the pasturing. They can move around and eat natural feed such as grasses or insects in the farm.
This farm is thoughtfully designed so that fowls do not panic with the sounds from the surrounding environment, which can deteriorate the quality of meat. The splendid taste of Hinai-Jidori cannot be achieved without great efforts from the breeders.
Hinai-Jidori festival in Odate
Every year around the end of January, the Hinai-JIdori festival is held in Odate. At this festival, you can experience rituals to honor the life of Hinai-Jidori and try various Hinai-Jidori delicacies.